F U L L . R E V I E W S
I was excited for this release. I mean the idea of reuniting Lynch, Pilson and Brown who were the backbone on every single Dokken album. Plus bringing in guest vocalists to cover Don's parts - talent like Robert Mason, Sebastian Bach and Tim Ripper Owens gave it added potential.
I need to stop getting my hopes up!
Despite it's misleading title "Slave To The Empire" is not about Darth Vader and The Emperor, but I wish it was since it'd be more entertaining than this dismal effort that fails to impress. No, instead we are fed a mixture of Dokken songs redone to give them a 'modern touch' and new songs written by the 3 castaway members of Dokken with Jeff Pilson supplying the vocals.
Take the ballad 'Alone Again' with Bach. It sounds like a winning combo till you hear it and find he turns in a half ass performance. He almost sounds like he was bored to be there. Robert Mason on a slower version of 'It's Not Love' - should be renamed 'It's Not Good'. Or Doug Pinnick of Kings X fame who steps into Don's leather pants for a cringe worthy cover of 'Tooth & Nail' that includes a breakdown that features, of all things, someone playing the spoons! It's like watching a cover band on American Idol try to reinvent a hit but end up butchering the songs you grew up with and loved, with the exception being, 'Kiss of Death'.
As for the new material it's more or less filler. While the title track and 'Rhythm of the Soul' provide a few highs upon listen they don't have staying power. None of them do. And Pilson may not be the best vocalist but at least on those 2 tracks he turns in a better performance. His vocals are depressing on 'Where Eagles Die'. They put us to sleep on 'Sweet Unknown'. Border on grunting on 'Mind Control'. And gives us his best impression of Louie Armstrong on 'Jesus Train' with it's old time radio sounding intro. Oh, the spoons once again make an appearance, too. *Eye roll*
Bottom line: It's like a Lynch Mob/Souls of We sounding album that doesn't do the classics any justice.
Suddenly, a Dokken reunion doesn't sound so bad.
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